Daily Archives: June 14, 2009

Doubt and conditioning of the mind for the worse

Swami Sandeep Chaitanya narrates a very interesting incident during one of his discourses.

Once a foreigner, who visited India was surprised to see how the water bodies (ponds, lakes, rivers…) were use for different purposes. People bathed in them, washed their cloths, washed the cattle, drank the water and also used for cooking.  But nobody seemed to have any health problems, nor were any signs of epidemic.

This was something he saw through out India, and he set out to investigate the ‘miracle’ behind this. The finding was also interesting: the people did not have any problems with using the water, simply because they did not have the slightest trace of doubt.

Why did I remember this story now?  Of late, people seem to be having more problems caused by food these days. Quiet often I find some one (me too at times..) who is not well because of something he/she has eaten. This has not been the case in the past for sure (at least not his bad for sure). People attribute this to incorrect cooking practices, adulterated food, use of artificial flavors, use of pesticides etc..

I do believe there is some truth in this. But I found something else interesting too. That’s the doubt. We have begun to doubt the food we eat. With the slightest difference to our expectation (bit oily, too spicy, weird taste..), we are almost sure that there will be trouble. I think this belief is strong enough to make us really have a problem with food.

I am not discounting the other factors, but just trying to draw your attention to the fact that the element of doubt in us is much more stronger now and so it the conditioning of the mind for the worse. It is just not food, we doubt the water we drink and the air we breathe.  

One reason for this is definitely the amount of information the media dumps on us. You can find this in every other aspect of your life. See some examples. Reflect on what will be your thoughts in each of these situations:

  1. Say you are a smoker. One fine morning you wake up with a bad throat pain.
  2. Say your spouse is not home from work past the usual time. You are unable to reach him/her over the mobile.
  3. You get a notice that you have to meet the HR head of your company.
  4. You get a notice from your child’s class teacher to meet her in person. What will you think the reason is?

The point I am trying to drive here is: the real problem is not really a bad thing happening (most of the time when it happens, there is no choice), but we anticipating it and creating it in our small little mind.

I think it’s important to get rid of this doubt and conditioning. This induces fear too. How can we? Some thoughts..

  1. Firstly look at the amount of brainwashing the media does on you. They tell you there is unrest in society, lot of crime, corruption and violence. People have become selfish and lack values. They tell you there is so much bad happening around you, always be on vigil.I think the first and foremost thing is to really cut down on the amount of negative stuff that we intake everyday.
  2. Another key step could be to re-learn to think positive. Next time when you are in such a situation, become aware. Ask yourself what makes you see the worst end. Look at the other side. Soon new habit patterns might form.

 In ancient India, they tackled this by using two simple things- faith and surrender. More on that in another post.